Study Looks at Mortality Disparities Among Children on Heart Transplant Waiting List
"Racial Differences in Waitlist Mortality in Children Listed for Heart Transplant in the United States in the Current Era," Circulation: The study, led by Tajinder Singh of Children's Hospital of Boston, assesses differences in mortality rates of children awaiting a heart transplant in the U.S. between 1999 and 2006, using data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (Singh et al., Circulation, October 2008). Of the 3,299 children on a heart transplant wait list during that period, 58% were white, 20% were black, 16% were Hispanic, 3% were Asian and the remaining 3% were listed as other. The mortality rate for children awaiting heart transplants was 14% for white children, 19% for blacks, 21% for Hispanics and 27% for others. After accounting for various factors, including children's age and health status, researchers found that black children had a 60% greater chance of dying while on the list, Hispanics had a 50% higher mortality rate and Asians and others had a 100% to 130% greater chance of dying. Socioeconomic variables accounted for one-third of the difference in blacks and 20% of the increased risk in Hispanics. The study did not investigate the reasons for the disparities but recommended further study into the issue (American Heart Association release, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.